On August 31, 2011, moms came to TheMotherhood to discuss school lunch nutrition and the ongoing nationwide debate about flavored milk in schools. Andrea Carrothers, MS, RD and Nutrition Communications Manager at Dean Foods, which sponsored the Talk and produces TruMoo chocolate milk made with all-natural ingredients and less sugar, led the conversation.
“Back-to-school is the perfect time to focus on nutrition and getting kids started with a healthy routine and start some new habits for the new school year,” Andrea told the group to kick off the chat.
“I think many moms struggle with healthy lunch ideas,” said Stefany, To Be Thode.
And Amy, The Finer Things in Life, said she was “excited to hear more about TruMoo” as a better chocolate milk option. “They are definitely taking steps in the right direction, with no HFCS and no artificial growth hormones. Every baby step helps!”
To learn more about healthier school lunch options and TruMoo, keep reading for the highlights or click the “Talk” button to read the entire conversation!
Replacing “Other” Flavored Milk with TruMoo
“Some of you have probably heard a lot about this debate going on at the local-PTA level. Some parents and schools are questioning whether flavored milk should be available to children because of the sugar content,” Andrea said.
However, according to Andrea, the absence of flavored milk in schools can cause milk and dairy consumption among kids to drop by as much as 40 percent. That’s a lot of critical nutrients that kids don’t get.
To combat the nutrition deficit from removing flavored milks altogether, “we really wanted to come up with a winning formula – something that moms could feel good about and schools could feel good about,” Andrea added.
TruMoo is available in both skim (fat-free) for schools, which meets the proposed USDA school nutrition guidelines, and 1% in retail and grocery locations. In addition to great taste, both varieties have great nutrition, providing all the 9 essential nutrients of white milk with only 10 grams of added sugars per serving.
“With so many peanut-free schools now, having the protein from milk is a good thing for many moms,” agreed Stefany, To Be Thode. “I can totally see how taking milk out of schools can create a problem with the milk consumption. My son gets one glass a day simply from school lunch!”
Kendra, Me and My Insanity, had a natural follow-up question: “Is TruMoo working on being a supplier for school lunches? And replacing the chocolate milk alternatives? If we wanted to suggest it to our schools, is there a way to do that?”
Andrea explained that “school milk contracts are almost always bid out annually in the spring and summer. Because TruMoo is made with fresh white milk at regional dairies, Dean Foods needs to have a nearby processing plant in order for us to consider responding to a bid. If you know TruMoo is available in grocery stores where you live but it’s not being served in your school, it’s likely because our local dairy didn’t win the school bid (or flavored milk has been banned from that school). While the bids of course may vary by region and by dairy, the cost is comparable with other milks. If you’d like to see TruMoo in your school, we’d encourage you to contact your school’s food service director or nutrition director to ask about TruMoo specifically.”
Healthier School Lunch Options
Finding portable, tasty, healthy food to send to school for your child’s lunch can be a tall order. Most of the conversation centered on bag lunches, as the participants’ kids ate school lunches infrequently.
“Our son is such a picky eater that we pack his lunch most days, which always includes a grain, a protein source and fruit,” said Cat, 3 Kids and Us.
“My son doesn’t like school lunch for the most part, but he isn’t a big eater anyway … but he will always drink the chocolate milk,” reported Lisa, Life with Lisa.
And Shannon, The Mommy Files, agreed, “My boys LOVED the TruMoo Chocolate Milk we received. They would love to add these to their lunches!”
A number of women had ideas for ways to use whole wheat tortillas in lunches.
“I make peanut butter and jelly rolls with the wraps and my 7 yo loves them,” said Lisa, Life with Lisa.
“The whole grain tortilla wraps with melted cheese – my kids loooove!” said Ruth.
“Yes, cheese roll-ups and quesadillas are great ways to get those grains in,” agreed Stefany, To Be Thode.
“My kids love peanut butter honey tortilla roll-ups. We also sometimes stick a banana in there or some apple slices. Raisins are good, too.” Amy, The Finer Things in Life.
“Great ideas, everyone! I like to make pizzas on pita bread. Pretty sure it comes in a whole grain variety, too,” added Kendra, Me and My Insanity.
In addition, “All kids love pasta, so switch to whole grain. I also mix brown rice with white,” suggested Jennifer, Savor the Thyme.
Getting Kids to Eat Fruits and Veggies
Putting a whole piece of fruit in a kid’s lunchbox often means that fruit makes its way into a trash can. Andrea suggests pre-slicing them so they’re bite-sized and easier to eat. Providing dips like hummus, yogurt or almond butter can also encourage kids to try healthier food items.
Fruit smoothies are another tasty option “to boost both dairy and fruit consumption in one great beverage,” said Andrea. “Kids can really customize that.”
“I always add a bit of kale or other greens to their smoothies” to get some vegetables in the mix, said Amy, Cajun Joie de Vivre. They don’t affect the taste of the smoothie.
“Smoothies are a favorite at our house,” agreed Amy, The Finer Things in Life. “Make them with frozen fruit and you don’t need any ice.” And you can put them in a thermos to keep them cold until lunchtime.
Cooking with Chocolate Milk
Using chocolate milk to replace ice cream in milk shakes, for example, is a healthier dessert option for kids and adults alike.
“We use chocolate milk to make pudding, smoothies and milk shakes,” said Amy, Cajun Joie de Vivre.
“We do the chocolate milk/ banana/ peanut butter, but we do it thick like soft-serve ice cream. Yum!” replied Amy, The Finer Things in Life.
Andrea added, “Another fun thing you can do is to use a little in baking – for things like muffins and scones or in waffles.”
Drink Milk for Health and Hydration
“I know, it is surprising, but milk naturally contains as much potassium as a banana, plus small amounts of sodium. That plus the fluid content makes it a great way to rehydrate,” said Andrea.
In fact, milk contains more electrolytes than sports drinks!
A cup of TruMoo, like all chocolate milk, has a very small amount of caffeine (which occurs naturally from the cocoa) – typically less than 5 mg. For comparison – a can of cola has around 35-40 mg and a cup of coffee around 100 mg.
The TruMoo website features the TruMoo Switcheroo, where you can compare flavored milk to other beverages kids commonly consume, like fruit drinks, energy drinks and soda!
More Information about TruMoo
In response to a question from Lisa at Life with Lisa, Andrea reported that TruMoo does “have a strawberry flavor that’s available in most markets. It’s got the same great nutrition stats as the chocolate – 130 calories and 22 g sugar (10 g added) in the fat-free and 150 calories and 22 g sugar (10 g added) in the 1%. I should note too that it’s made with all natural colors – the pink color actually comes from beet juice powder!”
Added Amy, Cajun Joie de Vivre, “I also like that it is available in so many sizes: gallon, half, etc. I have four boys and my hubby and I both have a glass of chocolate milk before bed time. We need BIG sizes. I’m glad we have that option.”
Additionally, TruMoo contains “8 grams of protein – that’s more than is in an egg! – plus [it is] a good or excellent source of 8 other nutrients including 3 of the 4 ‘nutrients of concern’ that kids aren’t getting enough of – calcium, protein and vitamin D,” according to Andrea.
Where to Find TruMoo
“If you can’t find TruMoo in your area, chances are we may not have a dairy nearby. TruMoo is made with fresh white milk at your local dairy. Our corporate website has a map of all of our regional dairy brands… if you don’t recognize one of these brands from your area, chances are you won’t have TruMoo in stores,” said Jamaison, who works with Andrea at Dean Foods.
You can use the TruMoo store locator to help you find TruMoo in your area.
Thanks so much to Dean Foods and TruMoo for sponsoring the Talk, Andrea Carrothers for leading the conversation, and our wonderful blogger co-hosts!
Amy, Cajun Joie de Vivre
Lisa, Life with Lisa
Jennifer, Savor the Thyme
Shannon, The Mommy Files
Kendra, Me and My Insanity
Stefany, To Be Thode
Cat, 3 Kids and Us
See the original Talk here: http://www.themotherhood.com/talk/show/id/62248